THE COMING OF AGE OF BEA ALONZO AND JOHN LLOYD CRUZ
by Pablo A. Tariman
They still look good together – Bea Alonzo and John Lloyd Cruz – but they are one in saying their teeny bopper roles are now thing of the past.
The two are one in saying everyone evolves and changes are bound to happen.
For John Lloyd, his concerns now go beyond the perks of popularity. “I guess I have outgrown my ‘kilig’ days. I like doing out of the box roles like my MMFF entry, Honor Thy Father. I no longer bother myself with mundane things like how many followers I have on face book or Instagram. I am more interested in doing more challenging roles and how far I could go to challenge myself as an actor.”
In simple peach-colored casual attire, Bea exudes the refreshing countenance of someone who had been there and coped gracefully.
She is reprising the role of the love-struck Basha whose world revolved around Popoy (John Lloyd Cruz) in a 2007 film, One More Chance.
Here they are now facing the press for a sequel of the same film that took eight years before it took a reel life of its own.
Direk Cathy Garcia Molina — looking as youthful as the lead stars – admits the sequel didn’t come easy. “The brainstorming took some time. We had to take a second look at Basha and Popoy and figure out what magic we could still extract from the relationship of the characters to which the 2007 audiences easily connected. It is hard because we are looking into a project that had overwhelming audience acceptance eight years ago and now we wonder if we could even match one half of its audience appeal. We just have to work hard. We saw a scenario where the two characters met once more, left the world of romance and fantasy to enter the very real world of marriage. How they coped, how they managed, how they nearly give up and then coming to terms with their respective strength and weaknesses. I have to personally do a one-on-one on the actors playing the part. But with Bea as Basha, I just let her sink into the part in her own way. That’s how much I trust her. She has a good instinct of what will work and what will contribute to the story. It is nice to see an actor evolve into someone so deeply connected with her craft.”
Looking back, Direk Cathy said both Bea and John Lloyd were on the chubby side many years back. “I had to adjust my lenses to make sure those extra pounds are not highlighted. But look at them now. The disposition has matured and their bodies are something to die for. They still look young and fit but more sensitive and caring. Bea learned the ropes through sheer hard work. But looking at what she has achieved, you will be surprised to find a star with fathomless share of humility.”
Bea is on her 15th year in showbiz and her humble beginnings are — rightly or wrongly — the stuff of teleserye. She came from a family where the food supply would come from the day’s income. She joined a beauty contest in Santolan, Pasig and fashion guro Oscar Peralta discovered her.
That was the time when the first edition of Pangako Sa’yo was at its peak and they were looking for a new face and the rest of course is history.
It was hard in the beginning
For one, her mother didn’t like the idea of showbiz exposure. She comes from a broken family and her mother feared the public might just be too hard on her background.
She intimated earlier she insisted she wanted to be a movie star. “I felt then that I can handle my family situation such as it was at that time. Foremost in my young mind is that I just wanted to earn a living. Later, it dawned to me I want to be a good part of the industry. So I started screening offers, choose the right roles and started asking questions which helped me improve my craft. I always ask questions about my character on the set. I listen to my director’s input and I try to contribute mine. My perennial fear was that I would be judged harshly during premiere nights. I learned to relax now without being kampante about it. I guess I have come to a point where whatever people say about me, I know who I am and where I stand.”
Bea says whatever she is now she would attribute to lessons she got from reel and real life. “I admit I learn a lot from the character I am portraying. When the time comes, I will probably go through the kind of married life she went through in this film. She had her share of tough times but who didn’t? When you move on, when you give yourself another chance, you never give up on becoming the best person you can be.”
John Lloyd joined showbiz when he was still in his teens, grew up in Marikina and Pasig and has since then outgrown his teeny bopper roles.
He had full-blown adult role in “The Mistress” also opposite Bea, he had essayed the role of Tarik Khan, true-to-life son of Esperanza Tresvalles, the madwoman of Catanduanes in one MMK edition and was well-received.
He enjoyed working with Direk Chito Rono in “The Trial” simply for the joy of defining his character which is about an adult with the disposition of a boy. “Direk Chito advised me to explore all side of the character. It was also obvious that he needed something outside his usual expectations. For this reason, it is a joy to work with him. Aside from getting total freedom to interpret your character, I discovered a new process of working on my character which is not easy but you discover later it works. It’s not easy to do this but with all the difficulties, the more I find this portrayal memorable to me. Because with Direk Chito, you can’t afford to be complacent. I can’t say he is an actor’s director but he knows what he wants, he knows where the story is going and he involves us in discovering other ways to achieve something out of the ordinary. Just when you least expected it, you get a role totally opposite of what you do and another director comes in to give you another way of exploring the role. This is a dream come true for me. Not that I disliked the romantic parts I am identified with. But once in your acting life, you also aim to accomplish something different.”
John Lloyd admits the joy of working with Bea is that the rapport comes easy. “I had to do well as Popoy because my Basha is equally good. Acting becomes rewarding when you are partnered with someone who shares your love for the craft.”
Bea is speechless over the compliment and can only say she felt humbled.
She has her own confession to make. “Just as it was hard to come up with a sequel, it was also hard to come up with a portrayal as to what happened to Basha eight years later. I look into other people’s relationship, I started asking questions as to why true-to-life relationships end just like that while others remained solid and strong. So in reprising the part, I had to look at my own relationship and what I saw in others. So I was able to come up with a portrayal that is true to the story but with a ring of truth in it. I suppose that is the rewarding part of being an actress. You portray other people’s lives but you also tap from you own life.”
The trailer of A Second Chance shows scenes from an early marriage: the bliss of honeymoon and the horror of discovering something not so pleasing from the partner.
Bea admits she tries to learn from what her character went through. “When you look at Basha, you see a woman in love and giving it everything she has. As she goes through the daily rituals of marriage, she discovers something in herself and more so, she discovers something new from her husband and it isn’t flattering. Here she copes, she tries to save the love, she hangs on to the marriage but something in her is about to snap. As you live the life of Basha, you also notice what she is going through in love and life is akin to what you go through yourself. A classic case of art imitating life and vice-versa. My life has evolved in so many ways. And so has Basha.”
John Lloyd adds his latest project is basically about the state of the heart and about living and loving. “I basically enjoy giving rather than receiving. We all make wrong moves one way or the other and for this reason, I think everyone – for them to move on – deserves a second chance.”
A Second Chance directed by Cathy Garcia Molina will open in all theaters on November 25.